Let’s read the story again for this series from Matthew 14:25-32 (NLT)
25 About three o’clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the water, they were terrified. In their fear, they cried out, “It’s a ghost!” 27 But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here!”
28 Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.” 29 “Yes, come,” Jesus said. So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted.
31 Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?” 32 When they climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped.
Sometimes, in our desire to serve God, we make rash judgments. We rush into action rather than seeking permission. Even though I’ve been challenging you to get out of the boat, we don’t engage in Water-Walking for the sake of Water-Walking. We are talking about choosing Extreme Discipleship Over The Desire For Comfort. We have to understand something from Matthew’s account. Peter is not in charge of this Water-Walking Experience. Jesus Is In Charge.
Even though he looks before he leaps, when he gets permission, he takes his leap of faith. That Leap Of Faith Was One Of The Defining Moments In Peter’s Life.
Sometimes when we feel life is boring, or we feel like life is passing us by, we can make a rash decision that is not in line with God’s call for our lives. We can make risky decisions that are short-sighted and absolutely dumb. But When Jesus Calls Us By Name, It’s To Join In Walking With Him On The Water.
In this Series, I hate to say this is the most important one of all—because it’s not the most important one. But today’s message is the Pivotal Message; your notes are on the front and back. Miss this one and the previous 2 mean nothing; and the remainder will not help you become The Water-Walker God empowers you to be!
This leads us to the one thing you need to remember from this message: It Isn’t The Emotional High Of Being A Water-Walker That Motivates Us—It’s The Desire To Engage The World For The Kingdom Of God Using His Spiritual Gifts.
Our Gifts For The Mission Only Work While We Walk On The Water. Every person is gifted by God, through the Holy Spirit for The Mission of the Church. The Mission of the Church is to do exactly what Jesus did: To engage the world for the Kingdom of God. Jesus did that with His Words, Attitude, and Actions.
One morning after a daylong session in Capernaum of healing and casting out demons, Jesus left. But the people looked for him until they found him and begged him to stay. But Jesus told them, “Look, The Father sent me to tell the world about The Kingdom, and that’s what I’m going to do!” (Luke 4:43)
The way we join in The Mission is through the use of the Spiritual Gifts God gives to everyone. Question: Do you believe the Bible is God’s Inspired Word? It’s what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 12:7—“A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other.” Help each other do what? To Engage The World FOR The Kingdom Of God.
Sometimes we try to barter with God by saying we want to know what the gift is before we make up our mind to become a Water-Walker. But it doesn’t work that way. You have to unconditionally trust the Lord Of The Gift.
At this point we should lay out a principle that is to be understood and accepted: Everyone Is Gifted To A Mission And Ministry. It’s not just pastors and missionaries and teachers and exceptional people. God Gifts us all in different ways. You need to be able to recognize The Gift that God has given you. Here’s some easy ways to recognize The Gift:
1. Your Gift Reflects God’s Image.
Let’s begin with a profound theological question: What Does God Do All Day? If we were to answer this question with one word, what would that word be? A great insight into this question is found in the very first book of the Bible, in the very first chapter. The word would be: Work! God is at Work. For 6 days, God is at Work. And On The 7th Day, He Only RESTS, Not Retires. God forms us with His very own hands to join Him in the Work. When Jesus came to earth, he Worked. First as a carpenter, then as the Messiah, God’s anointed one! And then as The Conqueror Of Sin and Death.
You Are A Piece Of Work By God. You were made in God’s image. You are created to Work, to create, to lead, to study, to organize, to heal, to cultivate—to do something that engages the world for The Kingdom Of God.
In Discovering Your Gift, It Will Say Something About God By Reflecting God’s Image. This means that you must get to know Him personally and deeply. Knowing God more deeply helps you know Your Gift. You experience God for yourself. Your Gift will reflect God’s image. Here’s a second way to recognize Your Gift:
2. Your Gift Is Essential To The Work Of The Kingdom Of God.
When my kids and grandkids were little we bought them gifts, and the 3 words I dreaded most were: Some Assembly Required. Inevitably, there would be a few parts left over, lying alone and not in the finished project. I always thought the factory just put some extra parts in there because someone just slipped up and put useless parts in there—parts not needed for completion of the project.
But this is not how God works. He does not make spare parts. You are not spare parts. You Have A Purpose—A Design That Is Central To God’s Dream To Engage The World For His Kingdom. God has given you talents, longings, and passions. God knows how to use those talents, longings and passion along with your Gift in order to engage this culture for The Kingdom.
In the movie “Blues Brothers,” John Belushi and Dan Ackroyd were ex-convicts on a trip. They were trying to raise money for an orphanage. Anytime they were asked about their work, their standard response was: “We’re on a mission from God!” Here Is The Story Of Your Life: You Are On A Mission From God. And your mission is essential to the vitality of the Kingdom and key to God’s purpose for creation. And the third way to recognize Your Gifts is this:
3. Your Gift Is Something You Discover, Not Something You Choose.
You did not arrive on earth with your Gifts pre-developed. You arrived with a little warning: Some Assembly Required. The word ‘vocation’ comes from the Latin word ‘vocatio’ meaning ‘a calling, a being called.’ Discovering your mission involves careful listening. God is the Call-ER and we are the Call-EE.
So how can we discover this Gift, this call? I’m not going to give you a magic formula to discover your gift—because there is no magic formula. But, as Nick Saban is fond of saying, there is a process that we have to buy into or it doesn’t work. Let me share what this process involves, in no particular order—but you will go through all of them: Let’s consider these your Next Steps:
God’s Gift Produces Great Joy. Think about it this way: have you ever received a gift from someone where you smiled and said, “That is exactly what I’ve been wanting!”? But inside your mind you’re thinking, “What a hideous gift! What were they thinking?” Don’t say anything in case that person is in this room. You hide it in the back of a closet and only get it out if you know they are coming to your house or you’re going to see them. But God’s Gift for you always brings feelings of great enjoyment. But there’s more.
God’s Gift Requires Gritty Determination To Use It. Here’s why: The Enemy doesn’t want you to use that Gift and will try to prevent you from using it. Why? Because He Fears You When You Operate Out Of Your Gift Rather Than Out Of Your Ability. If Satan doesn’t fear you, it’s because you’re still in the boat.
God’s Gift Fills You With That Sense Of Urgency And Necessity. The word “necessity” comes from 2 Greek words that mean “intensity” and “ache”. When You Discover Your Gift, There Will Be An Intense Ache Inside You When You Are Not Faithfully Using Your Gift.
Your Gift will far exceed your abilities. Remember that Gifts are about what God does through you rather than what you do for God. Your Gift is Spiritual not natural. Use your abilities for the Kingdom, but do not neglect your Gift.
Surround Yourself With People Who Have Godly Wisdom. These people will help you identify your Gift because they are also in tune to listening to God. They can help you name your Gift and help you use your Gift.
Align Yourself With People Who Pray. In discovering your Gift and in using your Gift, you need to be surrounded by Prayer Warriors. People who frequently pray are in frequent conversation with God. Remember, Satan is afraid of you when you use your Gift—so we need the Hosts of Heaven’s Armies all around us.
Start Using The Scientific Method. I know that sounds so unspiritual. But if you are still having difficulty identifying your Gift, the Scientific Method helps. In case you may have forgotten, the Scientific Method is Trial And Error. Try using a Gift to see if it works in you; try more than once. If it doesn’t work, try something else. According to a legend, Thomas Edison made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb. When a reporter asked, “How did it feel to fail 1,000 times?” Edison replied, “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.” Did Peter know he had the Gift to Walk On Water? I don’t think so. But he had to try, otherwise he would have never known—and neither will you.
Your Gift Is Found By Listening. When you have truly listened to God, you heart will drive you to use that Gift and step out of the boat. Spiritual Gifts Are Designed To Work On The Water, NOT In The Boat.
Giftedness is different from abilities, skills, and your wheelhouse. You need to use Your abilities, skills and wheelhouse here. But Giftedness is different. It Originates From Outside Us—Works Its Way IN Us—So That THROUGH Us We Engage The World For The Sake Of The Kingdom Of God. But it takes a surrender of what you know—in order to find out what God knows.
Peter knows, at least he should know—that this is outside his abilities, skills and definitely not in his wheelhouse. The Gift God gives you is to make you into more than you could ever become—to do more than you ever thought you could do. But it is never beyond what God can do—through you!
We’re Not Gifted To Work FOR God, But We Are Gifted To Work WITH God. Remember, you are on a mission from God. And it’s yours—yours to discover—yours to claim—and yours to live!
We’re Not Gifted To Work FOR God, But We Are Gifted To Work WITH God.